Posted in reviews

The Smoke in His Eyes by Shane Wilson Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A young musician who endures powerful hallucinations after witnessing a traumatic event as a child must discover where inspiration originates from in author Shane Wilson’s magical realism novel, “The Smoke In His Eyes”.

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The Synopsis

When TJ—a musical prodigy—witnesses a traumatic event as a child, his senses are overrun with intense hallucinations. Over the years, his visions increase in frequency and intensity, but he hides them from those he is closest to, including his best friend and musical partner, Lila, who challenges TJ to reject formulaic creation in order to create something beautiful and unique. But when Lila signs a record deal, TJ feels left behind and alone with his art and his visions.

That’s when TJ meets an artist named Muna. In his eyes and visions, Muna is made of smoke, and as this magical woman helps him learn how to manage his visions and how to translate what he sees and hears into music and lyrics, she begins to disappear. His journey into Muna’s past is a journey to discover where inspiration originates and what happens to an artist when that inspiration is gone.

The Review

A truly powerful and emotional read, the author does a great job of embracing the magical realism genre in this book. The novel does a fantastic job of establishing a fully realistic and heartbreaking world for protagonist TJ early on, as the reader not only sees the traumatic event unfold in his childhood but sees the signs of the troubled life TJ endures for most of his life. 

While the magical element of the story and the relationship developed with Muna becomes a crucial part of TJ’s journey, the real heart of the story is his relationship with Lila. The author does a great job of balancing the story by showcasing the emotional struggle of both TJ and Lila, seeing the relationship from both points of view as love and music intertwine their friendship and romance throughout the narrative. What really stands out is how the author is able to capture the darkness and emotional toll that creatives, especially musicians, often endure in life, and brings it into a magical realism world to help highlight the power behind some of the great inspirations musicians can endure. 

The Verdict

A breathtaking, expertly written, and emotionally-driven read, author Shane Wilson’s “The Smoke in His Eyes” is a must-read novel. An evenly-paced read that explores the complexities and emotions that often come from a musician’s journey to find inspiration and love, the author has crafted intimate and engaging narrative readers and fans of the magical realism genre will not want to miss. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Born in Alabama and raised in Georgia, Shane is a child of the southeastern United States where he feels simultaneously at-home and out-of-place. He graduated from Valdosta State University in south Georgia with a Masters in English. He taught college English in Georgia for four years before moving to North Carolina in 2013.

No matter the temperature outside, there is always an iced coffee in his hand when he walks into class in the mornings. He tends to chase the day with a whiskey and a re-run of The Office.

Shane has published poetry in Tethered by Letters and the Stonepile Writers’ Anthology, Volume III. He is currently at work on a new novel as well as a collection of short stories based on the mythos of and set in the same town as A Year Since the Rain.

https://www.shanewilsonauthor.com/

Posted in reviews

We Own The Sky (The Muse Chronicles #1) by Sara Crawford Book Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Trigger Warning: This book deals in themes and story elements involving drug and alcohol abuse, mental health and suicide. If any of these themes are triggering be warned this review and book involves them.

An incredible YA series gets a jump into a rarely used part of Greek mythology in author Sara Crawford’s We Own The Sky, book one in the Muse Chronicles series. Here’s the synopsis:

What could you create if you fell in love with a Muse?

16-year-old musician, Sylvia Baker, has always been different. She’s the only one who can see the “flickering people.” When she sees a gorgeous flickering man named Vincent, she learns that they are Muses. 

With his help, she finds herself creating exquisite songs that she loves almost as much as songs by her favorite bands–Radiohead, M83, and The Black Keys–and she is falling in love in a way she never knew was possible. While trying to maintain her newfound friendships and her band, she falls deeper into the world of the Muses. 

When the original Greek Muses wake to find a world in which the internet has given everyone the tools to be an artist, a battle between traditional and new methods of creation ensues. As Sylvia discovers how she is connected to the world of the Muses, she learns that this war may put her music, her love, her very life at stake.

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I really have to applaud the author of this book. She did a marvelous job of drawing me into this world from the very first pages all the way to the stories climactic and cliff-hanger of an ending. I am already a big fan of Greek mythology, often employing it into my preferred reading material and my own writing. Getting to explore this underutilized aspect of mythology was brilliant. The story did a fantastic job of creating and building upon one of the world’s largest and most inspirational mythologies while blending a unique and personal tale of what it’s like to grow up in today’s society.

The character development was the highlight for me. As a mental health awareness advocate, this story did a great job of both highlighting the struggles of those with mental health ailments and showing the stereotypes those with mental health illnesses must deal with in our society. It also highlighted humanity’s instinct to label those who are creative or act outside of what society has deemed “normal” as being “crazy”, an offensive word that brings negative connotations to the mental health profession. The protagonist Sylvia is a relatable teenager and artist, showing how therapeutic and mentally alleviating diving into the arts can be for people. As someone who suffers from depression, I know my love for writing has helped me to channel the sadness and loneliness I’ve felt into something positive, and that’s what this author has shown brilliantly.

Overall I loved this story. It was emotional, personal and a fantastic entry into what promises to be a thrilling new YA franchise. This story is just the tip of the iceberg for the story of the Muses, and I cannot wait to dive head first into Sylvia’s story in book two. If you haven’t yet be sure to pick up your copy of We Own The Sky by Sara Crawford today!

Rating: 10/10

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B073T2JK2L/ref=x_gr_w_glide_ku_bb?ie=UTF8&tag=x_gr_w_glide_ku_bb-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B073T2JK2L&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2

About the Author

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Sara Crawford is an author, a playwright, and a musician. Ever since she was five years old, she has lived for art in one form or another. This manifested itself as writing plays at age eight and convincing (forcing) the neighborhood kids to perform them on her driveway, auditioning for Atlanta Ballet’s The Nutcracker three years in a row before finally landing a small role as a toy soldier, starting an all-girl band in high school, writing and producing her own plays and short films, and most recently, writing a book about a girl who falls in love with her Muse (WE OWN THE SKY). Sara has been an actress, a singer, a playwright, a songwriter, a guitarist, a keyboard player, a poet, a screenwriter, and an author of both fiction and non-fiction.

She graduated in 2008 from Kennesaw State University with a B.A. in English and in 2012 from the University of New Orleans with an M.F.A. in Creative Writing (emphasis in Playwriting). Currently, in addition to working as a freelance writer and internet marketer, she is also a creative writing professor in the graduate program at Southern New Hampshire University, teaching online classes. She also loves to talk about books, music, and writing on her YouTube channel. For more information visit http://saracrawford.net or https://www.youtube.com/user/saracrawford.

http://saracrawford.net

http://twitter.com/sara_crawford